In trying to meet the need for resources of the Lord’s church in the Majority World, we currently have the following types of services at the RSC:
- Online library with resources (Christian Library, Ressources Chretiennes, and Christelike Media)
- Request services (Timothy Project)
- Bible Commentary (Vox Viva)
- On-site library
The Christian Library is a website with online resources. Our motto for this project is: A Scripturally sound library in every home. This website was also started bearing in mind the situation of the Majority World: Everyone who wants to study the Word of God and what it means for one’s life should have the opportunity to do so. With this website we aim to reach not only ministers but all Christians; therefore, all the articles in the Christian Library are public and accessible to all. We see an eagerness to study the Word in many young Christians in the Majority World, and we are building an online library for them to grow in the depth and the width of the riches we have in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gathering of material
To build this online library we create and find resources in a few different ways. We systematically work through many denominational magazines and add this material to our website. We also contact pastors around the world to ask if they have articles available for us. In addition, we create links to good articles we find on the web. Finally, we also put in a lot of effort to translate articles from other languages into our target language. This is a very big project, and we are thankful for the fantastic cooperation we have received from many authors.
In this online library our focus is on popular and semi-technical resources. This website also has a specific section for Bible study material and children’s devotions.
Accessibility of material
All the articles are categorized, but they are also given keywords. These keywords make it possible to search meaningfully on a microlevel and find all the related articles. This is especially important in a Majority World context where we have to cater for people with limited computer skills.
Like all the other material of the Reformational Study Centre, all the articles are read and tested—not only with regard to suitability but also as to whether the article is Scripturally sound. Some of the technical articles are not according to our Reformed confessions, but they are added as they function as discussion points at some of the seminaries we assist. Technical material is specifically for research purposes.
Another main and very important component of this site is that it will form the basis for interaction regarding the Timothy Project.
We started this part of the project in 2012 and have almost 20 000 articles available for public usage.
This is a French online library with similar aims as the Christian Library. This work is done in cooperation with Rev. Paulin Bedard and the Église Chrétienne Réformée de Beauce. We are very thankful that we can work together to make this service available to many French-speaking pastors and Christians who have a great need for good resources!
This online library has grown quite a bit over the past few years, and now has more than 6,000 articles. This library also has a section with sermons and material that can be used as courses in the church.
Christelike Media is an Afrikaans online library with the same aim as the Christian Library. While we have a strong focus on the church in the Majority World, it does not mean that we want to walk away from our own situation in South Africa. In our own country there are still many of God’s children who have not forgotten what it means to live according to the Scripture. With liberal tendencies within the different churches in this country, a lot of people have become very lonely by being obedient. We want to reach and help these people!
This online library has more than 2,200 articles on the website, and it also has an education section, as well as material for Bible study.
The Timothy Project is our request services. It often focuses on more extensive resources. This service is exclusively for pastors in the Majority World.
In the beginning (2008) we only focused on the material the pastors needed for their preaching (Preaching Library), but since 2012 we started to accept requests for all other theological topics. During the past few years it has been a huge challenge for us to find good material on all the different theological topics.
We are very thankful for the funds we have received from many Canadian Reformed churches which enabled us to do this work and make such good progress. However, there is still lots for us to do, as we still receive many requests for which we do not yet have the right or decent material.
How does it work?
As we mentioned, this service is a request-based service. Weekly we receive hundreds of requests via email asking for material on specific Scripture passages or topics. Often the pastors also describe a certain situation in the church, asking us for guidance in that situation. We would then often propose a Scripture passage that is fitting, along with a few notes and material that the pastors can study in preparation for this sermon.
We already have a database of material covering all Scripture passages and a lot of topics. This material vary in difficulty levels. All the material is checked to make sure it is Scripturally sound and of good quality.
Scripturally sound resources—far and wide!
The number of users in this service is growing by the week. At the moment we are working with more than 12,200 pastors. They come from all over Africa, Asia, and other Majority World countries—a total of more than seventy different countries worldwide. We are very thankful that the Lord is giving us this opportunity to assist so many pastors! For us it is a great honour and privilege to work with these pastors as they give their heart for the ministry.
We are also excited about the fact that we are reaching so many ministers who do not have a confessional background. In the very beginning of the RSC, it was not our intention to focus on ministers within such churches, but the Lord has opened these doors for us, and the current situation gives us a golden opportunity to also reach other pastors who desire to study the Word of God. It is now also important for us to reach as many of these pastors as possible and to let them discover the doctrines of the Scripture “from the inside.” We trust that the Spirit will lead his servants as they study the Word of God.
We are also very thankful for the special opportunity we have to work with many theological seminaries. This project also focuses on helping lecturers and students in their respective needs for theological training.
Vox Viva is an extensive exposition and application website and app. It aims to be a useful tool in sermon preparation, Bible study, and finding general biblical guidance. Vox Viva means: the Living Voice (of God). We believe that through the faithful exposition and application of the Word of God, we hear the living voice of God today.
Each Sunday, millions of unqualified or underqualified preachers bring the gospel, especially in the Majority World. They also often have to do this work without good resources guiding them in the understanding and the application of the Scripture passage. Through our years of working with these pastors we have seen that they quickly take over (unscriptural) ideas because they do not understand the Scripture passage well enough or have difficulty formulating a message for the church from the Scripture passage.
And so, in 2012 we started planning for a tool that can guide the pastor through all the steps of sermon making. Vox Viva wants to provide the building blocks for the millions of lay preachers and underqualified preachers to make and preach good, biblical sermons on Sundays. It wants to be extensive in the help it gives, so that it clearly guides the preacher from the Scripture passage to the application. In the end it is very important that the pastor sees and knows the heart of God (understands Scripture), and preaches from his own heart and conviction (as an instrument of God) to the hearts of the people of God (providing appropriate application). There is no shortcut in this process! With the Vox Viva project we want to honour all these principles and help with this majestic task!
As this is a public website and app, we believe it can of course also be a helpful tool to the church of the Lord in general.
This project started off as sermon outlines, and this remains an important subsection of this project after the Vox Viva tool went public. This subsection is called Living Word.
This project is also being done in French in cooperation with Église Chrétienne Réformée de Beauce in Canada.
The physical library is the foundation of many of the services of the Reformational Study Centre. On the one hand, there are the request-type services (like The Preaching Library and The Timothy Project) that make extensive use of the library, but the library is of course also vital to the studies we do for Vox Viva, cultural questions, material for translation, etc. Building a solid and extensive library is of utmost importance to our goals in general!
The first focus of our library is not how many people we can get to the physical building, but how much of the library we can get out to the people. Although that will remain our main focus, the Study Centre has received more and more visitors over the past few years who wish to come and study at the premises.
Our library mainly grows through the donation of books, but we also have a book fund.